Some big ideas like war and peace are rolling around in "Ender's Game," a science-fiction drama that stifles its own message within the hermetically sealed sterility of a video game.
Adapting Orson Scott Card's 1985 novel, writer-director Gavin Hood ("X-Men Origins: Wolverine") introduces us to a future Earth whose military is preparing for a second attack from the Formics, antlike aliens whose first strike 50 years earlier killed millions of humans before they were repelled by the heroic actions of pilot Mazer Rackham.
Part of that preparation involves training young children via video-game simulations. One such child is Ender Wiggin (played by "Hugo's" Asa Butterfield), an undersized 11-year-old boy who is bullied by older, bigger students. The head of the training program, Col. Hyrum Graff (Harrison Ford), sees Ender's tactical skills and his barely contained talent for violence as benefits, and moves him quickly into the next level of training: Battle School, on an orbiting space station.